Over the past few years, there have been many stars who have walked into WWE and haven’t quite made the grade. Rather than quietly release many of these stars, WWE prefers to make a spectacle about the fact that they are being released. Most of the time when stars are fired on WWE TV, it isn’t because they are being fired in real life, it is because it is all part of a much bigger storyline.
Sometimes WWE puts wrestlers in “Loser leaves” matches so that there is an explanation as to why that star is no longer on WWE TV, rather than straight out firing them out of nowhere. Given Mick Foley‘s recent dismissal, it has come to many fans’ attention that there are many wrestlers who have been fired on WWE TV over the years. Many of these stars have come back after a few months away, whereas sometimes these stars are fired and actually forced to leave the company.
The following list looks at 15 stars who were fired on WWE TV in front of a global audience, in the most embarrassing way possible.
15. The Big Show
Big Show is one of the longest running stars on the WWE roster, but when The Authority was in power, Stephanie McMahon decided that she had had enough of The Big Show and him going around doing whatever he likes in the ring.
The storyline at the time was that Big Show had nothing without WWE, the company had to save him from being homeless, but Stephanie decided that Big Show had done enough to the WWE over the past few weeks, so when he made comments about Triple H and her, not only did she slap Big Show across the face many times, she then told The Giant that he was fired from the company as well. Obviously, this didn’t last very long since Big Show is currently part of the Raw roster once again right now.
14. Bobby Heenan
On an episode of Monday Night Raw back in 1993, it seems that Gorilla Monsoon had had enough of the comments by Bobby “The Brain” Heenan and he decided that enough was enough.
Part way through the broadcast, while Heenan was still working at the commentary table alongside Vince McMahon, Monsoon made his way to the ring, took Heenan by the scruff of his neck and walked him out of the arena. The entire time Heenan was pleading with Monsoon not to fire him, but he was shouting about his comments and told him not to come back as he threw him and his belongings out of the back door of the arena. The camera stayed on Heenan for a while as he attempted to pick up all of his bags before falling to the ground in comedic fashion.
13. Kelly Kelly
Kelly Kelly was looking for a release from WWE back in 2011 and it was decided that firing her on live TV was the best option. At that point, Kelly had become aligned with the World Heavyweight Champion Edge in his feud with SmackDown General Manager Vickie Guerrero and Dolph Ziggler.
The duo blamed Kelly for the fact that Dolph had lost at The Royal Rumble and put her in a match where the stipulation was that if she was pinned then Edge would lose his title. Vickie was at ringside and Kelly pulled off the unthinkable when she was able to spear Layla and get the win for her team and allow Edge to remain Champion, but Vickie decided after the match to use her power as the authority figure on SmackDown and fired Kelly.
12. John Laurinaitis
Being a General Manager is never easy and John Laurinaitis found this out the hard way, after deciding to pick the wrong side. The stipulation was made that if John Cena managed to defeat The Big Show in their steel cage match at No Way Out, then Laurinaitis would be fired.
Obviously, John tried his best, he attempted to knock Cena off the top of the cage with a crutch before Brodus Clay evened the odds and held him back. Cena managed to then jump off the cage quicker than Big Show could climb out and this meant that Laurinaitis had lost his job. Vince McMahon then headed to ringside to make it official and stated “You’re Fired” before John Cena AA’d Johnny Ace through the announcer’s table at ringside. Laurinaitis still works for the company in a backstage capacity now instead.
11. Beth Phoenix
Vickie Guererro, John Cena, and AJ Lee were all embroiled in a personal rivalry back in 2012 when Vickie made a match between AJ and Beth Phoenix on Monday night Raw. AJ managed to pick up the win over Beth after a quick roll up, but Vickie then came out and restarted the match, stating that AJ needed to do better.
Beth had already hit AJ from behind and then hit the Glam Slam for the win. The problem was that AJ wasn’t the only female wrestler that had managed to annoy Vickie that night, because she was forced to come out and restart the match. Vickie blames Beth for putting her in that position and despite winning, she was fired. Beth was recently inducted into WWE’s Hall of Fame.
10. Stone Cold Steve Austin
Stone Cold Steve Austin was not in a great mood the night after WrestleMania. He lost to The Rock after three Rock Bottoms. He was then forced to appear on Raw the following night, but his mood didn’t improve any when Raw General Manager Eric Bischoff made his way to the ring instead of The Rock.
Bischoff told Austin that he knew why he was calling The Rock out and because he spent the night in the hospital, before WrestleMania, he had his lawyers check it out and he had found out something that Steve wanted to hide. It seems that Austin was at risk while he was still wrestling and since his doctor had refused to clear him to wrestle, he shouldn’t be in a WWE ring. Bischoff then went on to fire him from the company, something that the entire WWE Universe knows didn’t last very long.
9. Chris Jericho
Chris Jericho‘s WWE career has been very much off and on over the past few years, with Chris preferring to wrestle part-time. Back in 2009, Jericho had many issues with Stephanie McMahon and all of this came to a head on an episode of Raw.
Jericho talked about the return of Vince McMahon and the fact that he would run the show much better than Stephanie. Jericho refused to compete on Raw until he was given a chance at the World Championship. Stephanie responded that she was still in charge and she then took everything away from Jericho before stating that he was fired. Jericho has obviously returned to WWE since then and is currently a part of the Raw roster.
8. Jeff Hardy
It became well-known to the WWE Universe back in 2009 that Jeff Hardy was struggling with drug addictions and another failure of the WWE Wellness Policy meant that WWE had no choice but to fire him.
On an episode of SmackDown, it was decided that CM Punk and Jeff Hardy would finish their rivalry in a loser leaves WWE match, a match that was inside a steel cage. It was Punk who came out on top and while WWE later allowed Jeff to say goodbye to the WWE Universe, Punk returned later to take him out with the Championship belt, which showed just how annoyed WWE were with their former World Champion. Fast forward eight years and Hardy has recently made his WWE return and won the Tag Team Championships with his brother Matt at WrestleMania this past Sunday.
7. Santina Marella
Santino Marella was one of the most underutilized wrestlers in WWE for a long time, but when it became obvious that he was getting nowhere in the men’s division, Santino decided to dress up as his own sister Santina Marella and compete with the women.
Santina went on to win the Miss WrestleMania crown at WrestleMania 25, but it seems that WWE decided that the gimmick had run its course, because when Donald Trump appeared on WWE TV and produced perhaps the worst acting ever, he decided to fire Santina Marella. This then allowed Santino to return to the men’s division and have another few years with WWE before he was released in 2014.
6. Vickie Guerrero
Vickie Guerrero had fired many stars over the course of her career as Raw General Manager, and this led to a meeting between Vince and Stephanie McMahon and Triple H where her career was on the line.
Vickie tried to fight her corner but because she decided to bring back Brock Lesnar and because of the destruction that The Beast had caused, added to the fact that Vickie was actually really bad at her job, it was decided that Vickie would be fired from her position. Add that to the fact that the WWE Universe had already voted that Vickie had failed as Raw General Manager and Brad Maddox would take her place. Vickie then had a fit about it.
5. The Miz And R-Truth
The Awesome Truth was stroke of genius as a tag team, when The Miz and R-Truth decided to team together, but their one downfall was the fact that they decided to attack Triple H. The COO of WWE doesn’t take to kindly to being attacked, so the duo thought that they would be off the hook and their jobs would be spared if they apologized to Triple H.
This seemed as though it worked until later in the night, when Triple H came out and fired both R-Truth and The Miz live on Raw. The duo later tried to attack the COO again backstage and the entire locker room then backed them up and threw Miz and Truth out of the building. Both stars have since returned to WWE but are currently on opposite brands.
4. Vince McMahon
Vince McMahon may be the most powerful man in WWE, but it seems that when he was about to fire John Cena back in 2011, Triple H had to return to show his father-in-law the error of his ways.
Triple H stated that he had been in a board of directors meeting and that was why he was late. He said that the directors were concerned about the current situation in WWE. The COO stated that Vince McMahon had become a concern because of the decisions he had been making as of late. Triple H then stated that he was voted to take over the company and that Vince McMahon was fired. Triple H did it in a way where it was obvious that he didn’t want too, but he was doing what’s best for business and Vince was left crying in the middle of the ring.
3. Cody Rhodes
It seems that being the son of a WWE Hall of Famer and having a successful WWE career of your own is still not enough to ensure that you have a future in WWE. Cody Rhodes learned this lesson himself back in 2013 when his career was on the line against Randy Orton on Monday Night Raw.
Orton was the World Champion at the time and despite Cody putting one hundred percent into the match, he came up short. Triple H then made his way out into the arena to tell Cody that while he respected him, he needed a team of winners and he wasn’t a winner so he was fired. Cody wasn’t away from WWE for long. He had one final run in WWE up until 2016 when both he and his wife Brandi decided to walk away for good.
2. Eric Bischoff
This is perhaps one of the most famous firings in WWE history. Eric Bischoff was put onto trial in WWE when it was determined that Vince McMahon was going to be taking out the trash on Monday Night Raw. Throughout his WWE career, Bischoff had been part of many memorable moments including firing Stone Cold Steve Austin.
McMahon announced that Bischoff was warned that he wasn’t reaching his objectives and so this week it was time to face the music. Bischoff had failed once again and in one of the best Raw moments in history, Eric Bischoff was fired from Monday night Raw and then put into the back of the trash can that Vince McMahon had driven into the arena.
1. Mick Foley
Mick Foley was brought back to WWE ahead of the WWE draft back in the summer of 2016 and was made General Manager of Monday Night Raw by current commissioner Stephanie McMahon. Mick was in an awkward position with Stephanie as a heel figure and him coming in as a face and it seemed as thought their relationship wasn’t working out at all.
The final straw came when Stephanie told Mick that he had to fire a person from the Raw roster that night, and he chose to fire Stephanie, who is his boss. Mick then attacked Stephanie’s husband and the following week on Raw it was confirmed that Mick would be taking some time away from his duties as General Manager. Kurt Angle has since been the man put in the vacant position.